The federal government would commence the Ibadan to Kano rail project immediately after the Chinese government approves its $5.3 billion loan to Nigeria, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
To complete all its planned rail projects, Nigeria has relied largely on loans from the Chinese government.
The minister said other investors who showed interest in helping Nigeria developed cold feet later.
Speaking on NTA Weekend Deal Programme in Abuja, the official said the federal government had already approved the contract.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3 billion to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract.
“The moment I announce that federal government has awarded a contract of $5.3 billion to CCECC to construct Ibadan-Kano, they assume the money has come in, no.
“Up to now, we have not gotten the money a year after we have applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence,” he added.
Mr Amaechi also said the Ibadan-Kano rail would link six areas which span Kaduna-Kano-Abuja-Minna-Ilorin-Oshogbo-Ibadan where cargoes could be moved to Kano from Lagos.
Reacting on the issue of wet cargoes on the road causing accidents, he said “cargoes can only go from Lagos to Ibadan for now”.
He said when the Ibadan to Kano rail project is completed, “wet and dry cargoes can be transported from Lagos to Kano.”
“Nigeria should be more patient with the Ministry of Transportation over the issue of wet cargoes. Currently, we are trying to construct the railway into the seaports to enable us transport either wet or dry cargoes to various destinations. The only wet cargo that can go now is between Lagos to Ibadan.
“The moment we conclude that, we will be able to move wet cargoes all the way to Kano from Lagos. We should also commence the construction of Port Harcourt to Maiduguri. We should be able to move cargoes from Bonny to Maiduguri,” he said.
Mr Amaechi said the ministry of finance “is in charge of funding of rail projects not the ministry of transportation,” adding that “they have the presidential approval to borrow money to fund projects.”
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